Editor’s Note: “The Economic Development Side” originally appears in the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce’s weekly member e-newsletter. It is written by Rhonda Dishner, the Economic Development Alliance’s executive assistant.


Two staff members of the Economic Development Alliance were in Fort Smith Aug. 25-27 to attend the 2019 annual conference of Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives (AEDCE).


At the meeting from the Alliance were Lou Ann Nisbett, CEcD, president and CEO; and Nancy Lee McNew, PCED, vice president of economic development.


Nisbett is a former board member and past president of the former Arkansas Economic Developers organization and was named AED’s “Arkansas Economic Developer of the Year” in 2012.


During this year’s meeting, McNew was elected as one of the two Fourth Congressional District representatives on AEDCE’s board of directors for 2019-2020.


The keynote speaker at the closing day’s “State of the State Breakfast” was Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston, who also serves as executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Following his talk, he announced AEDCE’s four special award recipients for 2019.


And, aware of Nisbett’s forthcoming retirement, Preston then gave a “shout out” to Nisbett from the podium, recognizing her years of distinguished service to economic development in Jefferson County.


Over the course of the three-day event, Nisbett also received a steady stream of good wishes from her peers.


The conference brought together professional economic developers and chamber of commerce executives from across the state. The organization was formed in 2016 with the merger of two separate associations: Arkansas Economic Developers and Arkansas Chamber of Commerce Executives.


In addition to networking with consultants and colleagues, the sessions provided an opportunity to hear experts talk about business recruitment, workforce development, talent attraction, site selection and “trends affecting Chambers and EDOs.”